Inter Faith Week’s healing experience

Inter Faith Week, Preston
Exploring and understanding other faiths

The city of Preston has come to the end of its Inter Faith Week and the Jesuits of St Wilfrid’s Church have paid tribute to the representatives of different faith communities who have shown hospitality in places of worship around Preston.

“With a gentle touch they described their community, and the hope and horizon which their faith brings,” writes Fr Peter Randall SJ in this weekend’s parish newsletter (below). “The devastating events in Paris inevitably arose as each one spoke, and in a simple but real way it was a healing experience, bringing a sense of solidarity with those who are facing the invasion of grief and shock in their lives.”

Fr Randall took part in both of the Faith Trails in Preston, which attracted up to 30 people who were able to visit different places of worship and hear about people’s faith. “There is a destabilising impact on local relationships, which is part of the intension of terrorism,” he writes. “The antidote to this destabilising effect is faith in human relationships. For people of faith, this automatically means the presence of God within us, wanting us to be closer. That is what real faith does; it should bring us closer, albeit with our differences. It is known by its fruits.”

Prayer, scripture and lawSt Wilfrid's newsletter, 22 November 2015

Last weekend’s attacks in Paris have impacted on Muslims in the local areas, according to Fr Randall. “They talked about the renewed concerns which preoccupy them when receiving such news,” he writes, “such as wondering what reactions will meet them ‘in the street’ in the wake of recent acts of terror as we have seen.” And he goes on to thank Sumayya Kovariwala who coordinated the Faith Trails, and Imam Vasi Bhayat, who welcomed visitors at Madina Mosque.

In addition to the Faith Trails in Preston, which gave local people the chance to visit different places of worship, speakers also talked about prayer from a Muslim and Christian perspective, considered scriptural passages on faith and law, and explored the role of chaplaincies in association with Lancashire Police. There was also a concert during Preston Inter Faith Week to raise money for the Red Cross and the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

Inter Faith Week is a national event that provides an opportunity to strengthen inter faith relations at all levels; increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, and celebrate their contributions to society; and increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs. Find out more.